Archibald Evans' 65 Corvair Monza
High-PerformanceV-8 Corvair Style
From the February, 2009 issue of Chevy High Performance
By Bob Mehlhoff
Photography by Bob Mehlhoff
Almost everything built is...
Almost everything built is drawn first. With the help of Archibalds friend Ralph Gonzalez, a see-through illustration displays all of the V-8 Corvairs features.
Powering Archibalds Corvair is a 383ci small-block Chevy with Edelbrock Victor Jr. aluminum heads and an Isky 292 hydraulic camshaft. For induction, he chose a modified 750-cfm Holley and Victor Jr. intake manifold. The 383ci small-block is ignited via a reworked HEI unit.
One of the foremost engineering...
One of the foremost engineering challenges in building a V-8 Corvair is the cooling system.
Since these cars were originally...
Since these cars were originally built as rear-engine, air-cooled cars, installing a water-cooled small-block requires a complete understanding of engine cooling systems. To keep his Corvair cool, Archibald custom-fitted a four-row radiator into the front of the Corvair and built an elaborate ducting system to exhaust the hot air out of the hood. Notice the transmission cooler mounted in front of the radiator.
Over the engine compartment,...
Over the engine compartment, Archibald and Ralph constructed an aluminum cover. A secondary piece fits between the air-intake shroud and the cover.
To support the small-block...
To support the small-block and stiffen the rear section of the Corvair, he installed a frame designed to accept a small-block. Driving this mid-engine Corvair into a turn is amazing. Just find your apex and hang on.
To ensure cooling reliability,...
To ensure cooling reliability, he installed an engine oil cooler too. Since this could only be mounted in a restricted area, Archibald added an electric fan. Our day trip included L.A. freeway traffic and winding roads. The V-8 Corvair managed all of it effortlessly.
To monitor engine data, he...
To monitor engine data, he added a full set of Auto Meter gauges into the stock Corvair instrument cluster.
Since producing lots of horsepower...
Since producing lots of horsepower requires lots of air, Archibald and Ralph constructed this aluminum air box.
It breathes through a large...
It breathes through a large K&N air filter positioned between the seats. Archibalds future plans include incorporating a ram-air system into the air intake.
To supply fuel to the small-block,...
To supply fuel to the small-block, Archibald fitted a 65 Mustang fuel tank (with foam added internally to minimize fuel slosh) and welded in his own fuel pickup box. With some modification, Archibald installed the Mustang tank where the original Corvair engine once sat. The pump is a Holley unit.
To help slow the Corvair down,...
To help slow the Corvair down, Archibald installed front disc brakes from a Cadillac. These brakes are activated via a Master Power booster and a master cylinder. With this setup, the Corvair stopped effortlessly during all of our tests.
To make the Corvairs...
To make the Corvairs undercarriage more aerodynamic, he added a front air dam from an early S-10 pickup. The wheels are from a 77 Z28 with P225/50R15 Euro TA radials.
At this time, Archibald relies...
At this time, Archibald relies on the stock Corvair transaxle with a 3.55 Posi rearend. A special adapter plate bolts the small-block in place, and Archibald runs a modified Art Carr Powerglide with a 2,400-stall converter to transmit the power. With street tires and proper starting line techniques, the drivetrain can withstand the power. Hes tried Oldsmobile Toronado transaxles, but feels the suspension geometry does not work well with the Corvairs space constraints.
To get an idea of how the...
To get an idea of how the Corvair hit the scales, we drove to Suspension Technologies in Torrance, California. There Tony Alacron weighed the Corvair at each axle with Archibald on board. The total weight with driver and a full tank of gas was 3,218 pounds. The front axle came in at 1,385 pounds and the rear at 1,834 pounds. This provided a 43 percent front and 57 percent rear weight balance.
Our Friday trip took us to...
Our Friday trip took us to Southern Californias Mulholland Highway, which is famous for its tight, winding curves. Riding in and driving Archibalds V-8 Corvair was a thrill. It corners exceptionally well, and listening to the small-block (mounted right behind your seat) run through the rpm ranges is like no other experience. Afterwards we parked at a lookout point. There the mid-engine V-8 Corvair really shined and drew quite a crowd. One of the coolest parts was watching the expressions people had when Archibald removed the aluminum engine cover. CHP
Imagine for a moment accelerating in a car that only weighs 3,000 pounds and is powered by a screaming 450hp small-block Chevy. Now imagine the sound of that small-block Chevy buzzing near 6,500 rpm, except this time the engine is mounted just inches behind your left earwhere the back seat used to be.
Archibald Evans turned that idea into reality. He transformed a stock 65 Corvair Monza into a mid-engine rocket ride that takes turns as though it doubles as a slot car.
Recently we spent the day with Archibald to learn more about how he did it, and to experience what it is like to drive a mid-engine performance car truly inspired by out-of-the-box thinking . Archibald is no newcomer to the Corvair clan. In the 60s, his father worked for GM as a design engineer on the then-new Corvair. Today, at 43, Archibald has spent decades building his own Corvairs in his own way. And after all, isnt that what hot rodding is all about?
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